Let us begin with Christianity. Simply put, Christianity views divorce as a tragedy, whether or not it was caused by biblically justifiable circumstances. Divorce has no positive connotation in the Christian mind at all.
In fact, one of the main scriptures referenced by Christians regarding divorce is a quotation from the prophet Malachi – “He (God) hates divorce” (Mal.2:16), a Christian can only view divorce negatively (We will see in future posts that there is a serious reason to doubt this translation from Hebrew).
But what about Judaism? Does Judaism view divorce positively? No, but neither does it have an inherently negative view of it. Divorce is viewed as a necessary step in a broken world for couples who have truly arrived at a point where they are no longer able to continue in their marriage.
Divorce in Judaism is not a badge of honor, but unlike Christianity, it is not a priori a tragedy or sin. In Judaism, divorce may be granted for a variety of qualified reasons. While Judaism does not view divorce as something to be desired or pursued, but as something that is nevertheless legitimate under some circumstances (such as marital unfaithfulness, domestic violence or spousal neglect).
In other words, there is something that Judaism recognizes that Christianity, generally speaking, does not: The only thing worse than divorce is a bad marriage.
While hurting children is a byproduct of almost every divorce, the values and practices of a bad marriage, which children daily witness, will become a greater hindrance to their happy, fulfilled, and productive lives as future adults than even the temporary pain of an emotionally restructured life.
What do you friends think? Is this about right, or have I mis-characterized either Christian or Jewish position? (Obviously it is much more complex than that, but we will explore this important topic in much more depth in the weeks to come).